It has been a long , long wait for this bloom. In the spring of 1994, the first one after we moved in, I planted a border along the west facing wall at the side of our garden, with some favourite perennials, a rose or two and annuals to fill the gaps. It was our first summer, and the border did well in the new topsoil.
Summers came and went, plants grew and matured and sometimes died. But the peony, whilst producing leaves annually, did little else. On a couple of occasions it produced tiny flower buds that never developed. Over time a jasmine grew to cover the wall and the bed became shadier, and drier and the peony sulked. The jasmine was removed following a gale, we made vegetable beds where the border had been. The rose I planted in 1994 is still growing there, and a little Geranium renardii, but I moved the perennials and the peony in the autumn 0f 1996. I decided to give it one last chance to grow and placed it in the south bed-my summer border.
The peony sulked last year, producing it’s usual sparse crops of leaves. This spring there was no sign when the other ,newer peopnies shot into growth. But late on this spring it pushed up leaves and the tiny flower bud. And the bud swelled and kept on swelling and now, after 14 years, the first bloom. It is dramatic, lovely, palest pink. It is peony “Sarah Bernhardt”